Another year has come and gone, which means it’s that time of year when we’re inclined to introspect and make promises to be better people. I’ll let you decide if you need to fix anything in your personal life (my own list is long enough!), but I do suggest that you take some time now to look back over the previous year for your business. The new year is a great time to review your business activities and to refresh your goals and website. You don’t need to book a long retreat at a mountain resort for this (although you’re welcome to do so, if you wish). All you really need to do is sit down and think about the questions below.
What do you want to achieve this year?
Sure, we all want to make more money, but how much more are you looking to make? Do you want to double your revenue? Or maybe you think a 5% increase would be good enough. It’s OK to let yourself dream of the possibilities, but choose an objective that you think you can reach. If you are satisfied with the state of your business and your goals are modest, for example, you might be able to nudge bookings a bit higher with a few tweaks to your website content. If your goals are more ambitious, though, you will probably need to roll out a new service or make major changes in how you market your business.
After I reviewed my business from last year, I set a revenue target that represents a modest increase. I believe I can get there by targeting my potential customers with more precision and by fine-tuning my website. I made a plan for how I intend to implement both of those strategies and am in the process of rolling those out now.
Who is your customer?
Yes, I know that this is a fundamental question to ask when you’re starting a business, but it’s also important to ask it over and over again, even after your business is established. Change is constant in life and business, and it’s likely that your customer base has changed over time. Who patronized your business last year? How is that different from when you started? What can you do now to respond to the changes in who your customers are? Who do you think you should be able to reach but haven’t yet connected with?
Be as specific as you can in identifying your customers, but try to get beyond the standard demographic categories. If you think your business would appeal to older consumers, what is it about those older consumers that might draw them to you? Is it an interest in history or music or exploring neighborhood restaurants? Do they tend to travel with pets? Are many of them solo travelers looking to connect with new people or maybe just looking to keep a low profile?
Does your website speak to your target audience?
Now that you’ve honed your understanding of who your target customer is, review your website copy. If you think your target customer enjoys eating at neighborhood restaurants, your website should highlight how you can help them do that. Create a page where you list local restaurants that are within an easy walk. If you’ve already created a page like that, review it now to remove places that have closed or restaurants that recently opened.
Take the time now to fine tune the content on your website, so it appeals to the right customers. You don’t need a website with fancy graphics, but you do need to include the right keywords and good copywriting to attract your target customers.
Keywords are just the common words and phrases that potential customers use to find you. And those words and phrases aren’t static; they change over time. If you want to make it easy for potential customers to find your website, you need to periodically review the words and phrases that they are using to find businesses like yours.
This is also a good time to review the photographs you use. Do they reflect your property as it is now? If you want good reviews, make sure your photos are current.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be expanding on many of these themes. Until then, I encourage you to take a step back and review your goals for this year and think carefully about who you are trying to reach.
©Dean Klinkenberg, 2018